Monday, December 22, 2008

Our path to a new house

I gave a brief thought about starting a different blog for house stuff. Then I laughed. I am having a hard enough time keeping up with two active blogs. So if you don't want to wade through house post - click away.

Our real estate agent came back with shocking news this afternoon. The Parade Home that we would like built on the corner view lot in Badger Den? "About the same price" as the Parade Home.

I was glad this conversation was not in person as my agent would have gotten a view of my tonsils.

You see this is a view lot in a great location and the other lot was a great location, but a view of a drainage pond and neighboring houses. Sure when you think about it there are things that were probably added to the Parade Home price - like probably landscaping, most new houses around here include minimal (i.e., front yard only) landscaping. Fencing is another. The media equipment in the media room. The wine fridge in the bar. All the extras - drawer knobs and pulls, custom window coverings, basically all the things that make it a Parade Home and not just another house for sale.

AB and I rely on my FIL's advice on houses and loans a lot. He is in the mortgage loan business and has made a lot of money in real estate. He has advised us to keep our house as a rental and we have had a number of people concur with this stating it would be a great rental property. We will refinance this house and buy another.

His advice is to start talking to the builder - because another surprise is that they could have the new house built in 4 months - however, still look around. We do have about 10 more houses we need to see before making our decision. But comparable quality houses of the same style - rambler with a walk out basement are selling for $100K more in the same general neighborhood. However, we haven't seen them... yet.

And I am not kidding myself that our home probably will cost more than the Parade home once I add two walls to make a 5th (small) bedroom in the basement instead of a huge wetbar, move one wall to make a larger walk in closet (it was obviously designed by a man), have a laundry chute or dumbwaiter put in (because I am not hauling laundry from the Master across the house, down a flight of stairs and back across the house when the laundry room is below the Master to start. Sort of. Oh and the kitchen - I plan to kill the eat in area and extend the island for both a larger work area and a place to put some bar stools since the dining room is like steps away. And I don't have a cafe type table or want a cafe type table in that tiny area.

But other things we may decide to kill to save money on - no fancy wooden inlays in the bamboo hardwood. Built in office components not really necessary. AB is considering killing the deck and having his brother(s) come out and help build a deck themselves. And we *can* do the landscaping ourselves... I suppose.

One thing we are excited about with this builder is the house is Energy Star compliant and "green built". Important things!

And before I get too far down this road I do need to e-mail the list of homes we still want to see to the agent. Though my FIL did advise starting to sit down with the builder here soon.

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